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W-2 Phishing scam getting worse in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG (WBRE/WYOU) – State regulators warned Tuesday that an email scam targeting Pennsylvania businesses and corporations is now expanding to public schools and non-profits.

Secretary of Revenue Eileen McNulty says the scam, which seeks to obtain your W-2 income tax information, first appeared last year and is expanding to more employers – including public schools, chain restaurants, temporary staffing agencies, healthcare and shipping and freight companies.

Eyewitness News first reported the scam in January after several thousand  UGI employees had their information potentially compromised in the scam.

It works like this: Cybercriminals disguise an email to appear as if the message is from an organization’s executive officer. It’s sent to payroll or human resources employees requesting a W-2 form for each employee in the organization, allegedly for the current tax season.

The IRS reports that some companies have given the scammers both their employees’ confidential tax information from the W-2s and thousands of dollars in wire transfers.

“This large-scale theft can give criminals sensitive financial information about employees that can be used to commit various crimes, including tax identity theft by filing a fraudulent tax return in the name of the victim,” McNulty said.

Anyone receiving one of these emails is urged to forward it to both the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at RA-RVITFRAUD@pa.gov and to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov and write “W2 Scam” in the subject line.

If you’re a victim of the scam, you can get some help with the Federal Trade Commission or the IRS .

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